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Best pitch advice ever: from my 10 year old


When our children were young my wife and I agreed on a strategy: “Answer only the question they ask.”

Q: Where do babies come from?

A: The hospital.

Q: Does Santa Exist?

A: Yes. (Unless there is a follow up question on modes of existence, “zip it”.)

My wife was a lot more successful at this than I was (am).  But it has provided me with some powerful lessons.

We are all big fans of ‘The Far Side’ in our house.  After my son (then 10) asked me a question, and I was way too far down the road with way too much information, he interrupted me with a quote from The Far Side.  He said “Hey Dad… Blah, Blah, Blah, Ginger.”

It was hilarious and quite instructive.

When people ask me what I do, I try to remember Craig Wortmann’s advice: Keep it simple and clear; then shut up. 

Example: “We help X do Y by doing Z”.

If they don’t ask a follow up question remember: “Answer  only the question they ask.”

Holiday Leftovers:


I looked in the fridge and saw the leftovers from Thanksgiving.  As I threw them out it made me think of company newsletters.

  1. They are old
  2. They are taking up space
  3. They stink and might just make people sick.

The newsletter format is outdated, and is usually a mixture of really old news and employee profiles.  The author likely sees this as an extra task that is an obligation and a time suck. Yummy…

Turkey cake

(Yes, that is a cake made from Thanksgiving leftovers. Gotta love that Potato/marshmallow icing! )

Your clients are way too busy to be combing through old news and although I am sure your employees are awesome, nobody really cares to read about them.  If they did, they would follow them on Twitter.

Throw it out.  Be ruthless on the quality of your customer communication.  Better to have no communication than to have your clients thinking this when your newsletter arrives…

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Dan Clark

Dan Clark

Principal of Bowline Consulting, process designer/fixer, wireless telecom veteran, addicted pick up soccer player, fly fisher, backpacker, beer brewer, guitar player, choir singer, recovering bag piper

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